For the first time in nearly six years, it’s Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer for a Grand Slam title.
The pair of legends may no longer be No. 1 and 2 in the world, but as they’ve shown the past two weeks at the Australian Open, when they’re healthy, they are still incredibly difficult to beat.
Nadal, who owns a significant edge in the head-to-head, enters the final as a slight favorite, but with all of the history, and with everything each player has been through the last couple of years, this feels like a toss-up.
Here’s a look at the odds and a prediction for the legendary Aussie Open final matchup:
Federer vs. Nadal Odds & History
Odds: Nadal (-130), Federer (+114), per OddsShark.com
Head-to-Head Record: Nadal leads 23-11; you can click here for full match history
Grand Slam Head-to-Head Record: Nadal leads 9-2
Grand Slam Final Head-to-Head Record: Nadal leads 6-2
Last Match: Federer def. Nadal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in final of Swiss Indoors Basel on November 1, 2015 (above video)
Federer vs. Nadal Prediction
Don’t make me pick. “Fedal” has been undoubtedly one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport, and the fact that it’s actually happening again–in a Grand Slam final nonetheless–has me a little too excited to form coherent thoughts.
But if I have to, I think this one comes down to fitness. Both of these guys are in their 30’s, both dealt with serious injuries last season, and both are coming off hard-fought, 5-set battles in the semifinals.
Of course, both have proved thus far they are in great physical shape, but Federer needed a medical break after two sets against Stan Wawrinka, while Nadal’s semi against Grigor Dimitrov–which was a day later–lasted a grueling five hours, so it’s fair to say fitness is still a significant question mark here.
Nadal’s level of success over Federer is obviously a major factor, as well. He has the game to somewhat diffuse Federer’s serve, and ultimately, that will be the difference in what will be a tight match.
Prediction: Nadal def. Federer in 5 sets